A Geospatial Analysis Of Demographic Characteristics And Environmental Burdens In Communities Near Superfund Sites, Long Island, New York
Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Master of Public Health (MPH)
School of Public Health
Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island, New York, have over 30 federal Superfund sites, which may contribute to increased health inequities in nearby communities due to potential drinking water contamination and air pollutant emissions. We assessed the proximity to Superfund sites on Long Island in relation to community demographics and the presence of other environmental burdens. Data were obtained from the 2022 United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool (EJScreen) and included proximity to Superfund sites (operationalized through the EJScreen distance weighting score), presence of other environmental hazards, and sociodemographic variables from the U.S. Census American Community Survey, aggregated at the census block level. Non-spatial bivariable analyses using t-tests were performed overall and by county to evaluate demographic characteristics and presence of additional environmental hazards in relation to proximity to Superfund sites. Hierarchical Bayesian regression models with census block level spatially correlated random effects were used to evaluate the relationship between demographic and environmental variables and proximity to Superfund sites, controlling for spatial autocorrelation. The non-spatial bivariable analyses showed that there were significantly more low-income residents of color, residents with less than a high school education, and residents with limited English proficiency in census block groups in above median proximity to Superfund sites than there were in those below median proximity. However, results from the spatial models showed no significant association between demographic variables and increasing proximity to Superfund sites, but did show associations between Superfund proximity and proximity to several other environmental hazards including wastewater discharge facilities, regulated management plan facilities, hazardous waste facilities, and high PM2.5 concentrations. The outcome of this study suggests that communities living near Superfund sites in Long Island are disproportionately exposed to other environmental burdens and may have a greater proportion of historically marginalized groups. However, inconsistent findings between aspatial bivariable analyses and spatial multivariable statistical analyses with regard to Superfund Proximity and community demographics need to be further investigated in future work.
Mooney, Fintan, "A Geospatial Analysis Of Demographic Characteristics And Environmental Burdens In Communities Near Superfund Sites, Long Island, New York" (2023). Public Health Theses. 2310.
This Article is Open Access
This is an Open Access Thesis.